For many students, 5th grade is the last year of elementary school before entering junior high or middle school. Accordingly, the intensity of math instruction moves up a notch as 10 year olds delve into increasingly high-level math concepts.

**High-Tech Helpers**

Tools such as calculators and computers may begin to play a role in your child’s math class. Although calculators shouldn’t be used to make basic calculations — 5th graders still need practice with that — they can be useful for learning about numbers and operations and seeing how patterns develop. Calculators can also be instructive when tackling especially difficult problems; students can talk about the issues they would need to consider even if the numbers get very large.

**Homework and Testing**

With the increased workload, in math as well as other 5th grade subjects, students may need to refine their study habits. Nightly math homework reinforces the lessons of the day.

Most 5th graders also take standardized math exams in the spring. These tests generally include multiple-choice as well as open-ended problems. The purpose of the exam is to make sure students meet the state’s criteria for proficiency in their knowledge of the state’s math curriculum. The push for testing comes out of a growing belief among educators that math prowess is vital not only for our individual children’s success in life, but for our country’s future.